Sunday, February 12, 2017

Just love...

Recently I had one of those epiphanies that kind of smack you in the head when you read the Bible long enough, and especially when you're reading a familiar passage your mind has pondered in the past more than a few times.
One day you get a new perspective, as though observing a landmark from the north instead of the west and you notice things previously hidden from view.

My Bible reading of late has been a slow progression through the Gospel of John and when closing the final chapter this week I took time to reflect on the main character traits which Jesus had displayed and were now 'pricking' my spirit, because I knew they were traits my own character needed work on.

The biggie of the bunch was love.

Love for the lost, love for the broken, love for the sinner, love for those who were unloved, love for the lonely, love for the sick, love for outcast, love for the soiled, love for those who did not know any better.

Here's a few things I noticed about the human character of the Son of God:  

He never shared an inside joke with the religious leaders of the day, nor join in their 
'holier than thou' street corner prayers. He didn't lay burdens on the poor and ordinary people, look down His nose at them, nor consider them of no value. 

He did rebuke the religious leaders, scorn and abuse them for their pride and abominable behaviour towards God, the poor and ordinary people. He called them hypocrites and vipers for the overwhelmingly heavy burdens (additional and expanded Jewish laws, not God-given) that were impossible to perfectly obey but which they punishingly lay upon the Jewish people.

Yet He LOVED those who were persecuted and cast aside, those who did not know any better way, and in the end, He loved the lost with His own life.

When you follow the Gospel accounts, any of the four Gospels, you read of a Jesus who was so incredibly kind and loving and paid attention to needs that others did not notice. He taught with truth and compassion, yet without forsaking any of God's holy commandments. He became the example of humanity He asked others to follow. His life was more than the words He spoke, it was what He did and who He did it for.

What did I learn personally about His love for the unlovable?

That I can't pick and choose who I treat with respect. 
That I can't expect someone to do the right thing if they've not been taught to do so. 
That if I am cold to someone because they don't live their life the way I do, or believe the things I do, then how will they ever see Jesus in me? How will they ever know there's a nicer, kinder, more respectful way to live and treat others?

If Jesus had treated them the way I sometimes do we wouldn't call Him Saviour...we wouldn't believe He was God...we just wouldn't believe. 

So that's my biggie, my character trait that needs attention - to see everyone as a person Jesus loves as much as He loves me, and to show them respect, kindness and care. And all in honour of my Lord Jesus, who 26 years ago pulled me out of a very dark place of abuse and despair, showed me more love, more compassion and more kindness than I ever imagined would fill my life again.
It is only because of my relationship with Him that I am alive and here today.

For more reasons why we need to follow Jesus's example of kindness, respect and care 
read Matthew 25: 31-46. Truly, it only takes about 2 or 3 minutes, so please read it. 

(It goes without saying that if you're being abused or in an abusive relationship you need to sever ties with the person who is hurting you and tell someone in authority who can step in - speak up, don't be silent. I'm speaking from my own past experience, not from a textbook. xx)

Your sister in Christ,


TN Quiltbug said...

I appreciate your sharing this! So glad to have found your blog--I am being blessed!

Suze said...

I have to agree with your final comments. Abuse doesn't have to be physical. It has insidious faces. If you are unsafe leave.

Thank you for today's thoughts. I really must read John again. Someone I knew called it the Love Gospel.

Recently my daughter took me overseas with her. It was wonderful. When we were in London she really wanted to visit Westminster Abbey. So we did. All the way through I kept thinking of Jesus chasing the money lenders etc out of the temple. You see they charge you 20 pounds to walk through the church. Sorry if this is off topic but it seems to me that this church is failing if it needs to charge. How many are lost due to this policy? Jesus would want us to share these spaces with love and kindness. I went to many churches and this was the only one that charged.

Anonymous said...

Also, the God-given, life-giving law was given to all Israel, not just the tribe of Judah/'the Jews'!
The law is meant to be life to us, and will, someday, be written on our hearts!
Rachel Holt

Clara said...

Wow.......Jenny, so moving!!!!

Deborah said...

Thanks for another inspiring and encouraging post. I look forward to your deep insights and you never fail to move me with them.

judith said...

Thank you for your transparency and love for the souls you don't even know you touch. You definitely shine with the LOVE of the LORD.
I look forward to meeting you on the other side of heavens gates. Across the oceans and miles between us, you inspire me with every word you share of the Scriptures. Truly a disciple of the One who Saves.
Thank you, May The Lords BLESSINGS be upon you and your loved ones, above and abundantly beyond, what you can even imagine, ~ Judith USA

Anonymous said...

This is one thing I've been trying to remember the last couple of years. When I am upset with someone, I try to remember that Christ is their Savior, as well as mine, and that I need to love them as Christ does. It helps me to change my view. Thanks for your inspiring words, reflecting on John. Jesus didn't even chastise Judas, and he healed the ear of the soldier who came to take him away.

TerriSue said...

Thank you dear Jenny for reminding me again of this simple yet profound truth. I have been having a very hard time since are recent president was sworn into office. I have always prayed for my leaders but have been unable to since he was sworn in. You have once again reminded me to step back and look through Jesus' eyes. I may not like him, I may not like what he is doing, I may even be quite concerned where my nation is headed, that is all the more why I need to praying for and trying to love this man. Thank you again for the gentle nudge in the right direction. My prayers will now return to normal even though they may be hard and uncomfortable for a while. I want you to know that I am remembering you and your loved ones during the wild fires going on. The heat in some areas of Australia is unreal.

Susanne said...

Hi Jenny - I just wanted to say something about visiting Westminster Abby. What Suze says is true - if you visit the Abbey just as a tourist, you do have to pay. This money - and I agree it is a lot - pays towards the upkeep of the Abbey as well as supporting its work. However, if you go to attend a service, or need to speak to a minister ( and there is always one on duty to help anyone who needs it) you can go in for free, through the West door. Just tell the verger on duty that you are going to attend a service or need to speak to a member of the clergy. There are several services the day, you can find the times in the website and they are posted outside the Abbey. I know these arrangements do not entirely meet Suze's concerns, and it's horrid to find 'the moneylenders in the temple' but I just wanted to let any other possible visitors to the UK who might read this, everyone is welcome to worship at the Abbey free of charge.

Susan said...

Hi Jenny,

I am thankful that you were able to get away from an abusive situation. I am even more thankful that you found and experienced the love of Jesus. I am always blessed (sometimes convicted) from the things you write. It is my heart's desire to be like Jesus too. I am far from perfect, yet His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness.

Like TerriSue, I have been having a hard time with the election of our new president here in the States. I do pray for him. I don't know if it does him any good, but it does me. The same is true for anyone I have a hard time loving.

Have a wonderful day and God bless you real good.

cooneen said...

I am involved in Bible Study Fellowship. This year we are studying John. We have been focusing on the extravagant love of Jesus so your words are most timely. Imagine when Jesus chose Judas to be one of His "12". Imagine as Jesus was washing Judas's feet. It must have broken Jesus' heart. He loves us all so very much. Jesus cried at the tomb of Lazarus because He never intended His creation (His pet people) to endure this kind of suffering.

Emotional abuse is the worst. The scars are inside: inside the door of your house, your heart, your brain. No one can possibly understand unless they have been there themselves. Now I'm watching my daughter carry on the family tradition. It is so painful. She sees her selflessness as loving others rather than what it really is, masochism.

Margaret Vernon said...

Jenny, you radiate love and compassion through what you share on your blog. You have a wonderful insight into yourself and your study of the Bible. Sharing your life, faith and insight is an amazing generous life "mission". Thank you for that gift. xxxx Margaret

Janice said...

Your initial quote on this post takes me right back to my teenage years when I was in a little singing group at our church - rather radical at the time, having a guitar and double bass rather than the pipe organ. "A New Commandment" was one of our favourites to sing. It's sentiment is so true. You have it singing in my head now. Thank you.

Kaylee said...

This little stitchery and needlebook is so pretty Jenny, such a lovely thing for you
to do. I love the little tin it comes in also, so pretty...